California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls

March 14, 2016

California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls

In the never-ending cross-country rivalry, the West Coast wins hands down when it comes to the weather — because you know of all the sunshine and low humidity.
And though I love me a good old cold snowy winter, whenever I see on social media a “friend” grilling outdoors wearing shorts, a tee, and a pair of flip-flops in February/March, I realize that The Mamas & Papas were right all along when they were singing: “I'd be safe and warm If I was in L.A.”
Seriously people, I feel the desperate need to flee the rain, the cold, the darkness. I want some sun-induced warmth. I want to be outdoors. I want to barbecue something. Anything really.


Unfortunately it’s not going to happen anytime soon — it seems like it's going to rain and be cold for quite some time. But since my yearning for spring is not going to subside anytime soon, I decided to put California in a bowl.
That’s way I created these California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls, to at least put a bit of Cali life on my table.

California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls

Marinated chicken, avocados, tomatoes, greens, and quinoa in a bowl.
I’m possibly more excited about this than I am about chocolate and salt. Possibly.
The chicken is tossed in a simple but delicious marinade made with garlic, shallots, paprika, cayenne pepper and a ton of parsley and basil, olive oil, and lime juice. Then it’s grilled until nicely charred.
Grilling is my favorite method of cooking chicken, but you might as well roast in the oven or sear it in a pan.

California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls

These bowls are so delicious and easy to make. I would recommend making the chicken the night or day before so you can throw the bowls together when you want them.
And believe me when I say that if I could put California in a bowl this would be pretty close.

California Chicken Avocado and Red Quinoa Bowls                                                            Print this recipe!
Adapted from HalfBakedHarvest

Serves 4


1 lb / 453 gr boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot (or small onion), finely chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried basil)


1 cup red quinoa (or white quinoa)
2 cups / 500 ml water
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Pinch of ground black pepper


6 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 gr Mesclun (or any green salad of your choice)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 avocados, sliced
Lemon juice
Olive oil


In a large bowl combine olive oil, garlic, shallot, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, parsley, and basil. Add chicken and toss well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (marinate overnight for fullest flavor).
In the meantime make the quinoa.
Place quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.
Heat a splash of olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, letting the water evaporate.
Add 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, lower to a simmer (turn heat down to the lowest setting), cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.
Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork (you should see tiny spirals separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds.)
Stir in olive oil and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high (if you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates)
and cook until nicely charred and cooked through (about 4 to 5 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.
To assemble bowls divide the quinoa and greens among 4 bowls or plates. Top each bowl with equal amounts of chicken, avocado, and tomatoes.
Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and serve!

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 619 calories. 40 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, and 32 grams of protein.


  1. Need to put this on our meal plan next week. We are finally warming up here, and I am loving being able to grill outdoors again.

  2. So simple and so delicious. Cannot wait to try this!

  3. It seems you're describing our weather, Mike - rainy, beginning of fall! But spring is inevitably coming so I'm ok to wait a bit. I just need to grab such a hearty bowl you've got here, and I will be ready to wait more (like 3-4 days).

  4. Daaaangg, that looks tasty! I love avocado and quinoa: they go so great together. Easy meals are always welcome.
    I'm so with you on the sunny part: I can't wait for Spring...

  5. Looks delicious Mike!...and props for quoting Mamas and Papas, one of my fave groups. :-)

  6. As much as I love the east coast, the west coast definitely wins in terms of weather and cheaper avocados! But anyways, this bowl has everything that I LOVE! I'm salivating over that chicken! NOMS

  7. Hi Mike, it is so ironic, I live in Arizona and I get so tired of the sun, it is almost depressing. Love, love this dish, avocado makes everything amazing.

  8. Very delicious lookin' dishes Mike! Lovely recipe...

  9. Sugarnuts - Duuude - while the weather on the east coast might be a far cry from ideal, your chicken is seasoned and cooked to perfection!

  10. This bowl looks seriously amazing! I love me some red quinoa and I can NEVER turn down avocado :)

  11. That chicken marinade sounds perfect. And adding avocado to anything makes me want it all the more!

  12. Just ordered some quinoa from and can't wait to try out this recipe when my quinoa is delivered! It looks amazing!

  13. Had this for lunch today...and dinner yesterday :). I couldn't wait to try it! And man...I was very satisfied! I highly recommend this dish! Yum!

  14. The avocado chicken combo is just so dang delicious! I can NEVER EVER get enough!

  15. I'm always absolutely desperate for sunshine this time of year too, I guess we'll just have to stick to sunshiny foods like this awesome chicken bowl!

  16. I just discovered your blog and made this for dinner tonight. Absolutely delicious and can’t wait to try more of your recipes!